LOTR: Uncle Saruman wants you… 06MAR2013

After months of planning, plotting, &  painting my three big LOTR game projects are almost at fruition (will run at the Southern Front Con in Raleigh, NC this weekend 8 to 10 March).  Here are some last minute details for the Scouring of the Shire (the other two are the Fell Winter and Fall of Isengard), y’all come, hear!
So your plans for world domination are not working out. In fact the trumped up  horse-lords have laid waste to your army and there is a large collection of talking shrubbery surrounding your impenetrable wizards tower.  The question is how to get back in the game?  Time to head to the lifelines – surely that will help.
  • You turn to your trusty Lieutenant Grima  – unfortunately his only wisdom involves becoming a Rohan toady – that is simple not going to happen.
  • Ask the audience  – the the walking vegetation remains mute, Treebread advises you not to be hasty, and you get the distinct impression that all those trees are trying to figure out how to rub their twigs together to lit up Orthanc.
  • You decide to call a friend.  You reach for the Palantir but remember that your toady threw it away and then remember who would pick up the phone if you still had it.
Its time for a new plan.  So you exit the back door and start heading north while you ponder options.  Not what I would have decided, but you decide to go for Shire domination and greet the happy hobbits if they ever return.
Its a long way to the Shire, you had better take some friends….
The GW LOTR Ruffians (now called Ruffians and Slavers) are fine minis and look suitably rough and ready for tormenting hobbits.  They have whips, chains, shackles, keys for the lock-holes, and nasty short swords.  The down side is that each of these minis have a lot character – so much so that if you have more than one of each type they start to look like twins and triplets.  I bought 3 packs when they first came out a ended up with four archers, two of the big jug lug, and one each of the others.  Now my shire is big and I have smials full of hobbits.  Given the scale of the battles in the Shire, these games can be run 1:1; however, that means Sharkey needs a lot more Ruffians.
First off, I noted that eBOB makes some nice lads that could have easily stumbled out the door of the Prancing Pony after a night of drinking and entertainment watching vanishing hobbits.  He has a nice little 3-pack that could be mistaken for the Gatekeeper at Bree, Barliman Butterbar, and pertinent to this discussion, Bill Ferny.  I decided that after Bill sold Bill, he hot-footed it to the Shire to take up Scouring for a business instead of apple tossing.
Searching through e-bay and the mound of lead accumulated over many years, I found a bit more minis that fit the bill:
  • some long time OOP minis from Ral Partha and Grenadier
  • Freeblades Black Rose Bandits  Highwayman, Thug, Rustler, Outlaw – these are big minis and serve as my Ruffian Captains

 

  • Mega Minis – Rangers and Thieves, Torturer (he has a whip), Villagers (I gave the angry man a spear)

  • Black Tree Design (BTD) Saxon Fyrd – Slingers, Archers, and Villagers – these lads are germanic and have short swords (Seax) very similar in size, look, and style to the GW Ruffians.  OBTW, slingers are easy to convert to whipmen.
If I was a once powerful wizard and decided to move to the Shire and still had the powers to compel folks with my voice, I would take some Isengarders on the trip.  I figure he could encourage a Dunlander or two, orcs or half-orcs, maybe a couple of Warg riders, a hulking Half-Troll bodyguard.  Sound reasonable?  (Except for the half-troll all are on the Isengard army list – I snag the half-troll stats from the Fallen Realms books).
  • GW Warrior of Dunland
  • GW Wildman of Dunland
  • GW 1st Age Orc
  • GW Warg Riders
  • Ral Partha Half-Orc
  • Unknown Trollman
To add to the figure diversity and especially increase the whipman density, I suggest these conversions:
  • GW Wildman of Dunland – snip off the sashes / sword and add whip
  • BTD Slingers – snip off sling and add whip
Last we need some turn-coat hobbits.  Before he becomes worm food, Lotho Sackville-Baggins is the puppet lord of the Shire.  Aka “the Boss” is available from Mithril along with his mom, Lobelia.  I used the states for Fredegar for Lotho.  Ted Sandyman is also a hobbit traitor and Mega Minis makes a nice fat hobby tipping a jug that will do the trick.
For this lot, we need some heroes per the warband rules (12 grunts per hero).  I decided that for the Ruffians, the Dunland Chieftain stats would do.  I reduced the defense value to 3 if he does not have armor, but otherwise a suitable match from the Isengard list:
  • Bill Ferny and the Breemen
  • “Stilleto” John and the Assassins
  • Jack “Garrot” and the Thugs
  • The Chief and his Sheriffs (hobbits one and all)
  • Sharkey and his thugs (a couple of dunlanders and non-humans)
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